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WORKOUT FOR THE WEEK: ​Still the Best Medicine

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Still the Best Medicine


Do you have that one movie or TV series that you really like watching when you feel lonely, stressed, angry, or when you just miss someone? It’s like this movie/series becomes a friend, someone familiar, who makes you feel like you’re home and not alone despite the fact that you are going through tons of problems at the moment. Personally, whenever I am stressed, I either tell it to someone whom I know will just make jokes out of my problems rather than take it seriously, or sit back, watch my all-time favorite sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and relax. Sometimes, it’s way better to laugh all your problems away, even just for a short moment.

However, if your problem is that you don’t have a favorite movie or don’t know someone who has a good sense of humor, here’s some alternative—Laughter Yoga. All you need is an open space, some friends maybe 1 or 2 (but more is always better), and prepare for some intense laughing.

Laughter yoga follows an approach different from the conventional approach we know which involves different poses and postures. It’s a little different from the traditional but the sole purpose is the same. The term Yoga (from the Sanskrit root “Yuj”) means “to integrate all aspects of life, harmonizing the mind and body….” Yoga isn’t about the fancy movements, equipment, or clothes but actually about the breathing. Taking in deep breaths helps lower your heart rate and initiate better circulation of blood, thus, calming the body. According to Sebastien Gendry, a trainer and consultant in the Laughter for Wellness and Well-being Method, “when you calm your body, you calm your mind; you cannot be physically relaxed and mentally stressed at the same time.”

Laughter yoga provides health benefits not only physically and mentally, but also emotionally, spiritually, and socially. Laughing strengthens our immune system as it triggers the production of antibodies to prevent infections, allergies, and cancers. According to some studies, members of ‘laughter clubs’ show a significant reduction in the acquisition of common colds, sore throats, and other infections.

Since laughing involves deep breaths, it also increases the oxygen levels in our brain which help it to operate at a higher capacity and essentially allow creativity and clarity of mind.

You might be somewhat curious why happy people seem to emit a certain glow. It is actually because laughing tones facial muscles, increases blood supply to the face, and improves facial expressions, all of which give better nourishment to the facial skin. According to curejoy.com, laughing makes an individual look more attractive. So laugh more often if you want to look younger and healthier.

How to practice laughter yoga:

Warm-up

Delivering jokes and having a sense of humor isn’t a requirement for this. You can start by socializing and talking with each other to condition yourselves. Next, stretch a little and do some breathing exercises. It can be done for 5-10 minutes.

During laughter yoga

Once you’re all warmed-up, the laughter game begins. To start off:

  • 1.Together, do some clapping and chanting. Your group could come up with simple clapping patterns and phrases to chant. If it’s a little difficult, you can just recite the lyrics of a song which is familiar to everyone.
  • 2.While clapping and chanting, practice proper breathing. Make sure that you breathe deeply to help relax your body.
  • 3.The next step could be a little awkward, but participants should behave in a childlike playful manner. For example, participants could lift their arms in the air, or do silly poses to help lift the mood. Being playful could trigger happy memories and positive thoughts.
  • 4.When the mood of the group reaches a state of euphoria, you now perform the laughter yoga exercises. This is where you now laugh (even for no apparent reason). As Sebastien Gendry puts it, “you fake it until it becomes the real thing.” Actually, if you did all the steps above, it should be easier to laugh because you’re probably in a good mood. Plus, laughter is contagious.

During the laughter yoga session, make sure that you laugh from the diaphragm. The laughing session should be sustained for at least 20-30 minutes to successfully reap all the benefits of the exercise.

Ending the session

You can end your laughter yoga session with silent meditation. Stay quiet for a few minutes to breathe, calm yourself, and absorb fully the positivity coming from the whole group and the environment.

While you can watch comedy films and laugh by yourself, it’s always way better to have someone by your side, laughing with you. Imagine yourself becoming healthier and feeling more connected to the people around you whilst having a stress-free day, what more can you ask for?



SOURCES:

https://www.curejoy.com/content/health-benefits-of-laughter-yoga/

https://www.sunriseseniorliving.com/blog/march-2017/the-surprising-benefits-of-laughter-yoga.aspx

https://www.laughteronlineuniversity.com/laughter-yoga/

https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/1-23-14-benefits-of-laughter-yoga/

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